Retailers Are Starved for CBD Information

The sky is the limit.

October 03, 2019

ATLANTA—Convenience retailers crave more information about CBD and hemp, as chained retailers become the No. 1 spot for consumer CBD purchases. This recent rise to first place comes after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, allowing retailers the opportunity to legally sell a narrow set of CBD products.

CBD experts Colleen Lanier, executive director of Hemp Industries Association, and Kristen Nichols, editor of Hemp Industry News, dished out details about retail prospects for CBD products during the Wednesday education session, “CBD, Hemp, Edibles: What Retailers Need to Know About This New Category.”

“If you think you’re seeing CBD everywhere, you are. And you’re seeing it in everything,” Nichols said.

Questions still remain for convenience retailers considering this exciting new space. Lanier and Nichols covered the basics, including the difference between CBD and hemp, how they work, types of products and the consumer profile.

As a reminder, cannabis is a plant that includes the marijuana and hemp varieties. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 cannabinoids produced from the plant, and it’s getting all the attention—for now. Lanier suspects a number of the other cannabinoids will trend over time as we understand their individual effects.

“One of the reasons CBD is so exciting is because it plugs into our body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors and has some benefits for our neurologic processes,” Lanier said.

Lanier also addressed the hundreds of aromatic oils contained in the cannabis plant, known as terpenes. Terpenes claim to promote calm, alertness and anti-inflammation. Some effervescent waters have terpenes and are marketed as “cannabis terps,” Lanier said.

Interestingly, the oily, nutty seed from hemp has trace amounts of THC, the ingredient that causes a “high” and is a good source of protein. It may offer retailers a new food source product that appeals to vegan consumers, she said.

Lanier and Nichols say it’s important for retailers to consider traceability of supply chain, including compliance with USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP); whether the product has supplement facts or a nutrition facts panel that is appropriate for the product; whether it is backed by any quality or consumer-safety certifications, such as the U.S. Hemp Authority; and whether the manufacturer, brand or product makes unsubstantiated health claims—a red flag for the FDA, Lanier said.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much market data available on CBD products, largely due to prohibition, Nichols said. Similarly, the FDA is still weighing in, overshooting its deadline to have more information by late summer or early fall 2019.

“The cannabis plant has been illegal for almost 100 years and has only been legal for about five minutes,” Nichols said lightheartedly.